While on routine patrol south of the Dominican Republic, a maritime patrol aircraft detected a go-fast vessel. Officials were dispatched to the area and observed that the vessel had no flag flown, no registration numbers, and no name painted on its hull, according to court documents, on September 11, 2022.
The Dominican Republic Navy later advised that the vessel was not registered with their country. The vessel was therefore treated as one without nationality thereby subjecting it to laws of the United States. Onboard the vessel, officials detained Victor Reyes-Martinez, 40, of Nicaragua, and another individual and located 630 kilograms of cocaine, according to police.
Today Victor Reyes-Martinez, 40, of Nicaragua, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. A sentencing date for Reyes-Martinez will be set by the court, and he will face a maximum of 20 years in prison. A judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors, said United States Attorney Delia L. Smith.
The United States Coast Guard, Homeland Security Investigations, and Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating this case, and Assistant United States Attorney Evan Rikhye is prosecuting the case, according to press release.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.